Thursday, November 24, 2011

I am Thankful for...

my faith and my family!  
And I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend time together
 this Thanksgiving holiday in New York City!  
We are having a wonderful time with everyone,
 seeing the sites, shopping, and eating lots of yummy food!  
It's feels like a little bit of heaven when we are all together.
And that's why I am so grateful for the knowledge that we can be together,
not only for a week in New York City but forever!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BYU NCAA Mountain Region XC Championships

Since we were in town and our cousin, Stephanie was running in the race,
 we had to go cheer for the BYU Cross Country team 
at the Mountain Region Championships on Saturday morning.
Stephanie had a great race and finished 4th for the BYU team!
Athletic Director Tom Holmoe, came and introduced himself to Brooke
and congratulated her on being the only freshman that made the XC travel squad.
Dad took advantage of the moment and got "the scoop" 
about BYU possibly joining the Big East vs. staying independent 
and asked him "Why they didn't get an invite to the Big 10?!"
If you want to know what Tom said, you will have to ask Mark...
I don't dare repeat what Tom said on my blog... I mean,
I might get it wrong or misquote him and I wouldn't want to do that:)!
I was very impressed that 1) Tom was at the XC meet and 
2) that he took the time and made such an effort to go around and meet the XC athletes.
Jeff and Caitlin came down to watch one of Caitlin's friends run for Colorado.
It was fun to watch the race with these cute kids!
I love this picture of Jeff surrounded by all these darling girls!
Did I mention that it was absolutely freezing... I mean, FREEZING!
So here we are with Aunt Oranee, in our puffer coats with our hoods up, trying to keep warm!
Steph and Brooke, best friends, cute cousins and BYU XC teammates!
Steph with her Kevan and her cute family!
Steph on her tiptoes, with Kevan after the race!
Our family congratulating Steph on a great race!
BYU finished 4th that day which was just good enough to qualify the team for Nationals!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ashley's 11-11-11 Birthday Celebration!!

Birthdays are kind of a big deal in our family and such was the case for Ashley this year! 
Ashley's birthday has always been pretty special because she was born on Veteran's Day. 
Since it is a holiday, she has never had to go to school on her birthday! Pretty sweet! 
But this year it was even more special, not only was she turning 20 years old 
but the date was 11-11-11, her "golden birthday!"  Pretty cool! 
 We decided that we had to do something really fabulous to celebrate and commemorate her birth!
Last year, Tyler's "golden birthday" fell on 10-10-10!  Again, pretty cool!  
So I put together a package of 10 items of 10 things that Tyler loves.
 I got 10 Chipotle $10 gift cards, 10 boxes of Sour Patch Kids, 
10 packages of Swedish fish, 
10 bottles of Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly... you get the picture... 
or better yet, here is a picture of the birthday package!
It was so fun putting that 10-10-10 package together and surprising Tyler
and I thought about doing the same thing for Ashley and put together 11 of her favorite things. 
But I decided that I had to come up with something different this time 
and somehow I felt like it had to be even bigger and better for Ash because she was turning 20!
So much pressure!  Why do we do this to ourselves??
So I did what any Mother who is all out of creative ideas would do...
enlist Brooke to help me come up with something that would be perfect for Ashley,
 something that would be so special that Ashley would never forget this birthday,
something that would remind Ashley of exactly how wonderful and special she is and how much she is loved!
And that is when we decided to put together Ashley's 11-11-11 Birthday book!
We asked Ashley's friends and close family to write down "11 Things that you Love about Ashley!" 
I was overwhelmed with the number of sweet, kind, thoughtful 
and creative things that people wrote about Ashley.
She has always been blessed with such great friends and lots of them!
Ashley has a great ability to love everyone and anyone and make everyone feel special 
so it shouldn't be surprising that so many people wanted to tell her why they love her.
With Brooke's help, I compiled the lists, entered each list into the book 
and added a picture of Ashley and the friend on each page.
It turned out absolutely adorable, thanks to all of the sweet messages sent from her family and friends!
I could hardly wait to give it to her!    
We flew in to Utah on her birthday and Ashley picked us up at the airport.
One of our family traditions is waking up the birthday boy or girl with a plate donuts with candles, 
and singing Happy Birthday to them first thing in the morning.
So Dad and I hand carried her favorite chocolate donut, fresh from Bill's Donuts, her favorite,
and greeted her at the airport, singing "Happy Birthday" to her!
I'm not sure which she enjoyed more, the singing or the donut:)!
Then per Ashley's birthday request, we went to see the movie, "Footloose" in Park City.
After the movie, we drove down to Provo to join Allie & Justin, and Brooke 
for dinner at Carrabba's, one of Ashley's favorite restaurants.
Here are the "little girls" ready to celebrate. 
Can I still call her one of the "little girls" when she is 20 years old... I think "Yes!"
Once Ashley opened up her book, she couldn't put it down.
She poured over the pages and the tears begin to flow
as she read all the nice things that everyone wrote about why they loved her.
She couldn't put it down and hardly touched her pasta.
Brooke, my "partner in crime" and Ashley with her book.
Ashley with her Happy 20th Birthday book!
I had to grab more napkins for her to wipe her tears when she read the entry from her dear friend, Spence.  So cute!
One thing that I love about Ashley is that she is always so excited and enthusiastic!
 This picture captures her expression exactly of her surprise and excitement over her birthday gifts!
The family sans Kimber and Brett and Tyler and Allie at Ashley's birthday dinner!
The BYU sisters at Carrabba's.
Mom and Dad with the birthday girl!
Back at Ashley's apartment, the fun doesn't end!
Aunt Mary Ann brought the little girls, Megan and Molly over to wish Ashley a Happy Birthday!
The Olson girl cousins.  Aren't they adorable!!
Seriously, so cute?!
Ashley with Aunt Beth, Aunt Mary Ann and Megan and Molly.
Allie and Justin brought Ashley the balloons to remind her that birthday is 11-11-11!
She was so happy that she had to take a picture with her favorite BYU married couple! 
She loves them so much that it required another silly photo!
The spread at Ashley's party before the 11-11-11 at 11:11 pm Ipod Dance Party!
We celebrated and partied with Ashley, as we put our costumes on and got ready for the dance party.
Per Ashley's request, everyone attending the dance party was to dress as something that they wished for, 
because at 11:11pm on 11-11-11, you would be granted your wish!
Brooke wishes that she lived in NYC so she dressed up as the Statue of Liberty,
while McCall dressed up as Blu, the bird from the animated flick, Rio.
Kib and Lisa came by to wish Ashley a Happy Birthday!
Brooke is so happy to party with her Dad!
A family photo dressed up as what we wish for:
Brooke wishes she lived in NYC,
Mom and Dad wish it would snow,
Ashley wishes it was Christmas,
Allie wishes she was a zebra,
Justin wishes he was Justin Bieber?
Hmmm, I think Allie had something to do with that:)!!
I love this picture of Ashley feeding one of her party goers some cake!
The funfetti cake was from the Sweet Tooth Fairy and it was scrumptcious!
Ashley and Mom enjoying a piece of cake!
And Dad, of course, wanted to enjoy the cake too.
Dad LOVED our costume!  He got so excited when I told him that we were going to dress up as snow.
He safety pinned all the snowflake cutouts onto our sweaters all by himself.
And of course, Christmas and snow always go well together!
That's what Dad is really wishing for!
Ashley and her roommates, Brittany, who was Sparkle, and Jordan, who was a Safari guide.
Ashley and her roommate from last year, Sydney.
They love each other.  Can you tell!?
We walked up to the tunnel above the Richards Building 
and right at 11:11 pm, the Ipod Dance began.
It seemed calm and under control at first...
and then I looked up on the stair rail and this is what I saw...
once he reached the top, he had to strike a pose!
I think this BYU student wishes he could wear a onesie everyday to school.
Don't we all wish we could wear comfy onesies everyday?!
Our favorite zebra and her Beiber got a little crazy!
Ashley and Courtney, dressed as Willow Smith, got a little crazy
and showed off their dancing skills!
Dad takes his Ipod Dance parties very seriously!
And apparently, so does this BYU coed.
These girls were dressed as fairies, who were going around granted everyone their wishes!
More Zebra and Beiber dancing moves.
And Brooke gets a kick out of Dad's dancing moves!
Then it got crazy again, as Landon, who was dressed as a Cloud, started up the railing.
It made me nervous watching these kids up on the railing,
even if he is "a cloud" he could fall and get hurt,
or worse, BYU Security could come by and "rain on his parade" 
or should I say, "on our Ipod Dance Party!"
Luckily, neither one took place and after a few minutes, the cloud came down.
Safe and sound, to live and dance another day!
Mom and Dad saw Ash on the bench dancing and decided to join her.
Now you know where she gets her dance moves:)!
And yes, that is a snowflake on my head!
Looking out of the tunnel at the group that are dancing!
Brooke and McCall dancing the night away.
Have you noticed how much Brooke likes to whip her hair as she dances?!
More dancing...
And Allie and Ashley dancing to a Mariah Carey song.
Oops!  Dad lost his place on the playlist... again!
"Deb, what song are we supposed to be on?" HA! HA!
Back on track, Dad is ready to rock it again!
Yup!  These are my kids!
The Zebra and her Bieber!
Another kid up on the railing... fortunately, he is behind the railing, which is much safer!
More dancing!
Brooke and McCall, two cute friends, who love to dress up...
 and dance...
and pose for pictures!  Love these two!
Allie loves Zebras and so does Jordan!
And an Ipod Dance party wouldn't be complete without a lunge... or two!
One thing that I love at BYU is that no matter where you go or who you meet,
 you can always find someone who knows someone,
 who you know from where you live or find some connection from the past.
An example is Ashley's former roommate and dear friend, Courtney Bingham.
They randomly met in the dorms, had a dance class together and became friends, 
so they moved to Liberty Square for the spring term.
Come to find out, Courtney's dad is a dentist and went to dental school at UCSF
at the same time that our Dad went to dental school. 
Mark was in his last year of dental school and when Courtney's dad was just beginning.
We had lost touch with her parents, Mike and Danielle Bingham, so it was fun to reconnect!
It is such a small world sometimes at BYU and such was the case on Saturday night.
 As our Ipod dance party came to an end,
Dad and I were chatting it up with some of the cute kids that attending the epic birthday event.
I found myself visiting with one young man in particular.  
We talked about all kinds of things, like what he was studying, 
where he lived, how long is has been home from his mission and where he served.
Then I asked him where he was from and he said that he was from New Canaan, Connecticut.
I told him that Kimber used to work up there at News12 Connecticut 
and how we would go visit her at work and we loved to shop in downtown New Canaan.
And then at the end of our conversation, I remembered that I had a cousin that lived in New Canaan, 
who I haven't seen in probably 20 years.
So I asked him if he knew Steve Whiting and the kid just stared at me in surprise.
I was like, "What?  Do you know Steve Whiting?"
He started laughing and said, "I am Steve Whiting!"
Apparently, Steve, my cousin, is his dad, and this kid is named Steve, after his dad!
Small world!  It was great to meet my cousin's son, who is, by the way, absolutely adorable!
We hugged and of course, had to get a picture together (snowflakes and all!)
 and then caught up on how all the Whiting aunts, uncles and cousins are doing!
I loved randomly meeting my cousin at a Ipod Dance party at BYU!
There is nothing like being on campus, dancing the night away with a bunch of college coeds,
especially when they end up being related to you!
Gosh, I love BYU!
And I love Ashley and I loved celebrating her "golden birthday" with her!
And best of all... I love that our wish came true...
this is what we woke up to the next day at our cabin in Park City!
Happy 11-11-11 Birthday, Ashley!
We love you!